There are only 2 rounds to go in the group stages so it’s now or never for those still in contention. Unfortunately there are too many teams that are already out of it and let’s hope that doesn’t impact the games too much.
Here is my video with my European Rugby Champions Cup Round 5 Predictions:
Gloucester Rugby v Munster – Gloucester Rugby by 3
There are a couple of really hard games to call this week. Some of that’s down to both teams being effectively out of the competition already. That doesn’t apply to Gloucester and Munster though. Munster’s away record this season has been poor but how much is that resting players in the Pro14 for the important clashes?
Gloucester had cemented themselves as the 3rd best team in England until some poor results recently. The return of Cipriani will give them a considerable boost. If he’s there I think they could sneak it, if he doesn’t make it back then I think they’ll struggle.
Leinster v Toulouse – Leinster by 7
This is the big game of the round. It has it all as Leinster and Toulouse have won this tournament 8 times between them. The only downside is that kickoff is 2am my time!
Toulouse took out the game in France but I think the reigning champions will take the points this time around. Either way I expect both these sides to progress into the knockout stages.
Montpellier v Newcastle Falcons – Montpellier by 10
Falcons had a great start to this competition with 2 wins. However home and away losses to Edinburgh and sitting bottom of the Gallagher Premiership mean other priorities will take hold. Even without those issues Montpellier away was always going to be a tough ask. I think this will be a TBP home win even though Montpellier have been inconsistent this season.
Bath v Wasps – Bath by 3
Does anyone really care? Both these sides are out of the competition already. What kind of sides will they pick is anyones guess so I’m going with the home side as this result doesn’t matter.
Ulster v Racing 92 – Racing 92 by 7
Racing are the pace setters in this competition having won all 4 of their games so far. With 19 points they have 1 more than Saracens and 2 more than Toulouse, who are the other sides with 4 wins. I can’t see Ulster being much more than a speed bump for Racing as secure one of the top seedings for the knockouts.
Toulon v Edinburgh – Edinburgh by 3
Toulon have shown some improved form recently but have been disappointing this season and sit last in pool 5. Edinburgh have a poor away record but have the turned the corner with away wins against Newcastle and Glasgow recently? Both of those away trips are just a drive down the road so maybe it’s planes that’s the issue for them though. With all that I should be going with Toulon but I going to back an upset here.
Scarlets v Leicester Tigers – Leicester Tigers by 3
Another dead rubber where the result won’t impact the outcome of the tournament in anyway. Scarlets have injury issues and aren’t allowed to add anymore players to their European squad. I find it strange that there is a maximum number of players you can put in your European squad but those are the rules of the competition. With these injury issues and Leicester looking better over the last couple of weeks, I think we could see an away win here.
Exeter Chiefs v Castres – Exeter Chiefs by 7
Pool 2 is crazy close and only 1 team will get getting out of it. Exeter gave themselves a lifeline by beating Gloucester away in the last round. They will need to win their lasts 2 games to be in with a chance of topping the group. Castres have been typically French by winning at home and losing away. I don’t see why this should be any different as I think they will concentrate on the Top 14.
Lyon v Saracens – Saracens by 10
Lyon are the only team in the Champions Cup to have 0 points. That puts them in the same place as Enisei-STM and Timisoara Saracens in the Challenge Cup. In other words a team from Russia and Romania. Coming up against Saracens who have won all their games so far isn’t going to help that. An away win with possibly a TBP is on the cards here.
Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues – Glasgow Warriors by 10
Cardiff’s only victory so far in the Champions Cup came against Lyon. So they are out of the competition already where as Glasgow are in shout of being a best second placed team. Glasgow have struggled recently with back to back losses to Edinburgh but this should be a moral boosting win for them.
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